CHEIK Tiote’s looking to put his African Cup of Nations disappointment behind him – by helping Newcastle United progress in the Europa League.
Tiote came off the bench in last weekend’s defeat at Tottenham Hotspur after returning from South Africa, where his country was knocked out by eventual winners Nigeria.
And the midfielder’s desperate to start against Metalist Kharkiv in tonight’s Europa League clash at St James’s Park.
The tough-tackling 26-year-old has made three appearances in the competition so far.
And United manager Alan Pardew, wary of Newcastle’s Ukrainian opposition, could well name him in his starting XI for what Tiote believes is the biggest game of the season so far.
“We have a chance to go far in this competition,” Tiote said.
“It would be a good experience for the club – and for the players as well.
“If we do the right things, then we can go forward.
“Everybody’s ready to play in this game. Everybody wants to play in it.
“You don’t get a chance to play in Europe too often. We must make the most of it.
“For me, this is the most important game of the season so far.”
Tiote felt Newcastle were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane, and he insists the players are confident they can claim what would be an important advantage from the first leg ahead of the return at the Metalist Stadium a week today.
“We are in a good way now,” added Tiote.
If we play the way we did at Spurs, then we have a good chance to win every single game. We have to work as hard as we did at Spurs.”